Issue 7 is closed to submissions….

Thanks to everyone for their stories and poems. It’s been a blast reading them all, especially these past few days when business really picked up. We’ll be in touch later this week with the winners of the contest and the rest of our wonderful authors for this issue.


Issue 6′s Last Interview and Issue 7′s Last Day

Today’s the last day to submit your poem or story and have it be considered for Issue 7, so keep adding to the deluge that’s hit my inbox in the past 48 hours. Also, to tide you over until Issue 7′s been released, here’s our interview with Jennifer Jackson Berry.

THIS ONE

Describe your work in 25 words or less:

My work is my truth. And to paraphrase Muriel Rukeyser, I want to split the world open with it.

Tell me about your poem “Another Poem About Infertility:”

The first stanza was in my head for a long time. Once I finally got it out of my head, the rest came quickly. I liked the “this, until not this” construction as a way to try to make sense of the perplexing issue of infertility, as well as the word “another” in the title pointing to the idea that dealing with infertility is often a long, drawn out process. I gave the poem to a writer-friend for his critique, and he said this doesn’t have to be an infertility poem. It’s just a great sex poem. But at the time I wrote it, the two were intertwined too deeply for me to not direct the reader with the title.

What authors have influenced you as a writer?

There were three collections that were very important to me in my early college years, when I first started writing poetry seriously: Mad River by Jan Beatty, Girl Soldier by Denise Duhamel, and Satan Says by Sharon Olds. All three women continued on in their own careers to write many more stunning collections, each one inspiring in its own way.

Do you have a blog/website?

I try to maintain a tumblr: http://www.jaxnberry.tumblr.com, but don’t always do that much with it. I’m always on facebook though: https://www.facebook.com/jennifer.j.berry.

Where can we read you next?

My e-chapbook When I Was a Girl was just published with Sundress Publications (http://sundresspublications.com/echaps.htm). I have poems appearing in upcoming issues of Cider Press Review, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Nerve Cowboy, Lilliput Review, and Iodine Poetry Journal, as well as the online feature Chapter & Verse of the Pittsburgh City Paper.

What are you working on right now?

I’m revising my full length manuscript, tentatively titled To the Pith; I hope to send it out to contests and open readings periods in the next few months.

Any advice for other writers?

Find a community! The act of writing is often a solitary, lonely experience, but I rely on my fellow writers to find sanity.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you to Bop Dead City and Kevin Rodriguez for giving a home to my poem.


Interview with Dan Sicoli

Dan gave Bop Dead City his excellent poem “In,” and, if the interview is tl; dr for you, then please just visit his wonderful Slipstream Press at http://www.slipstreampress.org/. They’re painfully legit.

 

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Describe your work in 25 words or less.

I hope it’s cinematic–that is, imagistic free verse–grounded in place whether it be physical, emotional or psychological. And a little mysterious, at times.

Tell me about your poem “In.”

I see the piece as somewhat of an exploration of a lover deluded by his infatuation with a woman he believes he is “in” love with. She remains aloof and distant and uses him when it’s convenient for her to fill in her own emptiness and needs. He misinterprets this as real love and thinks he’s “in” with her. She may be longing for another’s unrequited love and thus is depressed, unsatisfied, and unfulfilled.

Of course, other interpretations are welcome and probably more interesting.

What or who inspires you to write?

Well, inspiration can come from everywhere–real life events, family situations, arguing neighbors, a hound howling in middle of the night, a dented car, a painting, a news item, an injustice, another poem…

What authors have influenced you as a writer?

Oddly, it’s more than just authors. The work of the following individuals (in no particular order) have sparked something in me to write: Shakespeare, Bukowski, Joni Mitchell, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, John Fante, Salvatore Dali, John Steinbeck, Martin Scorsese, George Carlin, Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, e.e. cummings, John Coltrane, Robert Service, John Lennon, Picasso, Homer, Frank Lloyd Wright, Walt Whitman, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Francis Ford Coppola, David Lynch, Johnny Cash, Lucinda Williams, Richard Braudigan, Neil Young, Miles Davis, Muddy Waters, Paul Kelly… 

Do you have a blog/website?

No, but you can find the small press magazine I co-edit at: www.slipstreampress.org.

Where can we read you next?

I have some stuff upcoming with Snail Mail Review, Architrave, and Santa Fe Literary Review.

What are you working on right now?

Besides my kitchen, more pieces and re-writes.

Any advice for other writers?

For every word you write, read a thousand more.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Give your $upport to the small/micro presses–like Bop Dead City and others.

 

Interview with Jennifer Martelli

Slowly but surely we’re getting all of our interviews posted. Today’s is with Jennifer Martelli, who gave us the poem “Picture of a Botched Abortion (from Our Bodies, Ourselves, 1971).”

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Describe your work in 25 words or less.

I like to think of my work as a way of talking to the universe:  I’m telling a story and I hope that someone is listening.  I try to be as plain with my language as I can and to rely on syntax for the music.

Tell me about your poem “Picture of a Botched Abortion (from Our Bodies, Ourselves, 1971).”

“Botched Abortion” was about 16 years in the making!  I wrote a very different version, when my daughter was about 2 (she’s 18 now); it focused more on her in the bathtub, but it was her actual position that moved me.  The photo “Picture of a Botched Abortion” exists, as does the tragic subject.  I knew my original poem wasn’t complete, wasn’t true (in the emotional sense).  Anyway, it lay dormant for a long time until I found out the name of the woman in the photo.  In terms of the “design” of the poem, I have been writing in longer lines, and that form lent itself to the subject matter:  it allowed me to contain a very moving subject (moving to me).

What or who inspires you to write?

I never know what’s going to hit me!  I enjoy writing groups with prompts–sometimes they’re duds, but sometimes they give me a vehicle.  Usually, I’ll get obsessed with something–snake handling, Japanese theatre, paddle boarding–and images will weave their way into my work.

What authors have influenced you as a writer?

Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, Jean Valentine, Marie Howe, Jane Kenyon, Mary Ruefle, Lucie Brock-Broido–these women enabled me to hear poetry in a very different way.

Do you have a blog/website? 

Not yet!  I’m going to try to set up a website!

Where can we read you next?

Sugared Water, Kindred Slippery Elm, Cactus Heart all have my stuff out now; Tar River Poetry, Right Hand Pointing, Burntdistrict, and Stoneboat will be out this year with some of my poems.

What are you working on right now? 

Right now, I’m sending my manuscript around and I’m working on a second one inspired by images from Asian Horror (The Ring, Pulse) and kabuki theatre.

Any advice for other writers?

I stayed away from writing for a long time–don’t do that!  Get with a great group of writers who are serious, loving and unmerciful!  Meet regularly and write!  And send your work out a lot–I made a vow to myself that I was going to submit weekly, if not daily.  Even when I’m rejected, someone read my work–it’s out in the atmosphere!

Anything else you’d like to say?

There are so many beautiful poetry venues out there now (like Bop Dead City)–it’s an exciting time to be writing and publishing!


Interview with M. Robert Fisher

Today’s interview is with the winner of Bop Dead City’s Issue 6 Contest Winner for fiction, M. Robert Fisher. I forgot to ask him what he thought about winning the contest, so let’s assume it was the greatest moment of his life or at least top three. Handsome devil, too.
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Describe your work in 25 words or less.
Gritty to light literary fiction with humor and heart, grounded in realism.
Tell me about your story “Small Town Girl.”
“Small Town Girl” is a story that follows Ray Beaudry, a hard drinking, sardonic writer with a firm, potentially twisted world perspective that tends to get him in more trouble than anything else.  This follows him on an almost petulantly inspired road trip out of the city after feeling placated and unappreciated for his literary mastery.  In most of my “Ray stories” he gets drunk and does something stupid or reckless but usually with good intentions; in this story I wanted to feed the romantic in me.  I’ve often described this story as my version of a Gothic romantic comedy, a fractured fairy tale so to speak.  It was an opportunity to show Ray’s softer side, which I don’t often give in to.  And what’s more romantic than going on an adventure and meeting a beautiful stranger in a strange new place?
What or who inspires you to write?
Words.  Sounds basic or simplistic but I can be inspired be a single phrase, even a word.  This story was inspired by a conversation I had with an editor I was working with at the time and she simply said “you’re growing.”.  I once wrote a 4,000 word short story completely inspired by the word “unfurnished” which I’d come upon while reading a Henry Miller novel.  If I am reading, chances are I am writing.
What authors have influenced you as a writer?
Because I started out in screenwriting a lot of my influences came from film and television.  I would say my greatest literary influences have been Charles Bukowski and Nick Hornby, who couldn’t be more different but speak to me in ways other authors like Vonnegut and Henry Miller failed.   Reading fiction to me is such a deeply personal thing that I am inspired by people who I feel bled on the page, whether it is light or stark in tone.
Do you have a blog/website?
Just Facebook:
Where can we read you next?
Other than Bop Dead City?  I have a short stories published in “Bleeding Heart Cadaver” and “Notes Magazine” which are both available on Amazon.  A lot of my previously published fiction was published on now defunct web magazines.  I am in the process of resubmitting a lot of that work as well as placing some older stories I’ve been polishing up.
What are you working on right now?
My novel.  The novel that is killing me.  It’s a dual narrative about a 20-something drug addicted poet and a woman estranged from her children that form a suicide pact after meeting on craigslist.
Any advice for other writers?
Find your voice and don’t let anyone try to dissuade you from being who you are.  And keep writing, no matter how rough the criticism can get.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Keep reading!  Anything, I don’t care.  Just read!

Interview with Ariana Den Bleyker

First, a quick thanks to everyone who’s submitting to us so far and to everyone who’s bought a copy. I had to do a second run to meet demand, which is both satisfying and frustrating to my lazy self. Next, we’ve got an interview with Ariana Den Bleyker, who not only writes but also runs ELJ Publications, a real deal publisher of literary things.

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Describe your work in 25 words or less.

Relentless in truth, fearless in confession.

Tell me about your poem “Making Love After Kids.”

I think anyone who’s been married for over 15 years and has one or two young children understand that getting a few minutes to steal away with your spouse is a rare opportunity, even at bedtime. This poem amplifies how we toss and turn with pieces of ourselves all week until we can finally take what we want and need when there is a moment to rest.

What or who inspires you to write?

My inspirations vary. Most of what inspires me to write is my past and working through it. Sometimes, it might just be a lyric to a song, a memory or a dream that opens me up.

What authors have influenced you as a writer?

I devour Mary Stone Dockery and Noelle Kocot. These are two contemporary woman poets to read. I’ve also been a fan of Sharon Olds, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich.

Do you have a blog/website?

Yes. http://www.arianaddenbleyker.com. Admittedly, I don’t update it as frequently as I should. I spend most of my spare hours maintaining all of the ELJ Publications’ sites.

Where can we read you next?

I have several pieces floating around out there in A NARROW FELLOW, Stone Highway Review and others. 2014 will bring the chaps Hatched from Bone and Stitches. It will also bring micro-chaps On This and That and On How Steel Breaks Stone, Bone.

What are you working on right now?

The manuscript doesn’t fit anything. I am a poet, but this is not poetry. It is not fiction in a traditional sense. It is not fan fiction, despite the character used as a vehicle. It is not creative non-fiction despite it being based on my own self-discoveries and dream sequences. It is strange, hybrid. It is lyrical but not prose poetry. It is written in standard sentences but not really traditional prose. I hope the writing itself lets you decide. I can freely admit it fits the dark fantasy genre, like a graphic novel without illustrations. What I’ve done is illustrate with words.

It is dark fantasy tale written in ten flash chapters, each a tiny dream sequence, perhaps prose poems, involving a well-known and loved horror figure born on the big screen. The figure, though only alluded to throughout the tale, is purely a vehicle by which the narrator explores herself and her psyche through her own dreams. At its heart it is a deep, psychological collection. Although not revealed until the end of the story, the tale cohesively explores the emotional death and rebirth of the narrator through a retelling of dreams to her listener, Freddie Krueger. Written in a first person present tense point of view, the subconscious revelations of the narrator are both rich and accessible. It is narrated dream about a therapy session that explores dreams. Despite the fact each of the pieces are complete fragments, it is a classic literary growth cycle with a twist. It is tale of dreams and the dream master.

Yup, can’t find anyone that wants it other than in an anthology. It’s too personal for that.

Any advice for other writers?

Read. Lots. Oh, and always be willing to accept constructive criticism from wherever it comes. Sometimes we are too close to what we’re writing.

Anything else you’d like to say?

Thank you. And, if you have the time check out my press ELJ Publications (www.eljpublications.com), parent of Emerge Literary Journal and scissors & spackle. Sorry, Kevin, I had to plug it. : )


Interview wih M.E. Riley

Ahh, I’m back to my lackadasical updates. I was good for like… almost two weeks? Regardless, I do have a very thoughtful and informative interview with M.E. Riley, who waxes poetic below sea level in New Orleans.

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Describe your work in 25 words or less.

Memories, the hurt of them. Carrying and sharing narratives that define who I am. A survey on what’s lost and what I can regain.

Tell me about your poem “De Valls Bluff Voodoo.”

It’s a retelling of a memory made years ago, when I was a teenager. The memory itself is hazy in particular places, so I used it to my advantage, language-wise, and tried to encapsulate images + dialogue in dense snippets. It’s dirty weird South.

What or who inspires you to write?

Hearing folks telling stories, trying their accents on my tongue. Music – I listen to so much music. Talking family history with my mother and aunt. Visual art that challenges how I define my views on the world. Traveling through the south.

What authors have influenced you as a writer?

Frank Stanford, C.D. Wright, Jericho Brown, Zora Neale Hurston, Philip Levine, Anne Sexton, Dorothy Parker, Langston Hughes, and Sharon Olds, to name a few.

Do you have a blog/website?

I’m currently both Blog Editor and Associate Poetry Editor for Bayou Magazine. Check out our series + highlights @ bayoumagazine.org. Haven’t had the time yet to cultivate a personal website, but folks can read my musings on Twitter (@RiotGirlRiley).

Where can we read you next?

Find my most recent work in The Rain, Party, and Disaster Society as well as in the debut issue of Quaint Magazine. A poem is forthcoming from Deep South Magazine.

What are you working on right now?

My MFA thesis. It’s in its final stages, but somehow, the ending has been much more difficult than the beginning. Understanding what a body of work is, what it does/could represent, may be the toughest lesson I’ve had to learn as an artist. If I ever figure it out, you’re the first I’ll call.

Any advice for other writers?

They say write what you know. I agree, but with an addendum: Write what you know, even if you don’t know what it means. No one has lived your life and therefore, no one can make your art. DO YOU.

Can you explain the appeal of New Orleans?

It constantly engages all my senses — I wear my gold locust earrings and pin-striped jacket to the corner store without a stranger’s glance. From my bedroom window, I see horses running the race track each morning. I hear poetry + music nearly any day of the week. I eat pounds of freshly- boiled crawfish out of a neighbor’s truck bed.

Anything else you’d like to say?

WRITE ON


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